Jen (my wife) first introduced me to pomegranates roughly 10 years ago and I immediately fell in love. Not only is pomegranate jam packed with nutrition, this super-food has some seriously amazing health benefits. Maybe you currently incorporate pomegranates as a part of your daily diet and maybe you don’t, but lets take a look as to why if they are not currently a staple in your diet, why they should!
Whether fresh in its natural state or in the form of juice, extract, oil, or even dried and used as a spice as it is in India, pomegranate is relatively low in calories, making it a choice addition to any diet.
Nutritional research science, now, suggests that all parts of the pomegranate, seeds, juice, and peel offers its own unique polyphenol protection. Polyphenols are plant antioxidants (natural chemical nutrients) that help protect us from developing many different kinds of diseases.
As in the case of this particular fruit, which consists primarily of juicy seeds called “arils“, ellagic acid is the main polyphenol found in pomegranates, and it is this substance that helps control several types of cancer. There is also a high level of punicic acid, which is closely related to conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a healthy trans fat found in nature. Daily drinking 6 to 8 ounces of pomegranate juice seems to prevent or inhibit cancer growth in prostate, breast, and reduces inflammatory enzymes in colon cancer.
Pomegranate And Polyphenols:
Pomegranate juice is also abundant in polyphenols, which have shown significant positive effects on the brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients. Polyphenols boost the brain cells’ resistance to oxidative stress, help to control the degeneration of fats and also appear to avert the death of the cells.
Pomegranate and Heart Health:
The American Journal of Cardiology” published a study that concluded that pomegranate juice improves blood flow to the heart by as much as 17 percent. This may help those who are suffering from heart disease, or are at risk of developing it. Pomegranate juice may help reduce arterial plaque. It also lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and raises good cholesterol (HDL).
Is Pomegranate Safe To Consume?
Pomegranate juice is likely safe for most people. Most people do not experience side effects. Some people can have allergic reactions to pomegranate fruit. When applied to the skin or gum, pomegranate is rated possibly safe. Some people have experienced sensitivity to pomegranate including itching, swelling, runny nose, and difficulty breathing. Pomegranate is possibly unsafe when the root and stems are taken by mouth as the root contains a poison.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Pomegranate juice is possibly safe for pregnant and breast-feeding women. But it is not known if other forms of pomegranate, such as pomegranate extract, are safe. If you use pomegranate, stick with the juice during pregnancy or breast-feeding and its always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider first.
Allergies to plants: People with plant allergies seem to be more likely to have an allergic reaction to pomegranate.
Surgery: Pomegranate might affect blood pressure. This might interfere with blood pressure control during and after surgery. Stop taking pomegranate at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
- Pomegranate juice may improve blood flow to the heart in people with ischemic coronary heart disease (CHD). In a study of 45 people with CHD and myocardial ischemia (in which not enough blood gets to the heart muscle), participants who drank about 8 fluid ounces of pomegranate juice daily for 3 months had less ischemia during a stress test. Study participants who did not drink the juice, meanwhile, had evidence of more stress-induced ischemia. The study noted no negative effects to drinking pomegranate juice (even on blood sugar levels or body weight). Lead researcher, Dean Ornish, MD, believes pomegranate juice may even be able to help prevent heart disease in people who do not already have it.
- Pomegranate juice may slow prostate cancer growth. Antioxidants are known to help prevent and repair DNA damage that can lead to cancer. “Pomegranate juice won’t fend off cancer by itself, but studies suggest it may be a wonderful addition to the balanced, plant-based diet recommended by the American Institute of Cancer Research,” says Collins. Men who have already had preliminary treatment for prostate cancer may benefit from a daily dose of pomegranate juice. The juice appeared to suppress the growth of cancer cells and the increase in cancer cell death in lab testing, according to research from UCLA. Allan Pantuck, MD, said in an email interview that he guesses a combination of elements in pomegranates — rather than any single component — is probably responsible for these health effects.
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